President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced changes to South Africa’s COVID-19 alert level 1 lockdown measures in preparation for the Easter period.
The amendments come after warnings from scientists and government officials that the increase in gatherings which typically happened during the Easter weekend could lead to a third wave of COVID-19 infections.
Speaking during a national address to the nation on Tuesday 30 March, Ramaphosa said that the country would be kept at alert level 1, given the relatively low transmission levels of the virus.
However, he said that while the rate of transmission remained stable, the country cannot let its guard down.
“The reality is that greater movement of people, interprovincial travel, greater use of public transit and gatherings present a great risk of an increase in infections,” Ramaphosa said.
“Over the last few days we have sought the advice of experts and consulted with representatives of provincial and local government on what measures should be put in place over the coming long weekend to prevent a new outbreak of infections.”
The government has subsequently decided to make a few adjustments due to the specific circumstances over this period.
Ramaphosa announced the following measures:
- The hours of curfew will remain from 00:00 until 04:00.
- Public recreational spaces such as beaches, parks, and dams will remain open, subject to health protocols such as social distancing and mask-wearing.
- Funerals remain restricted to a maximum of 100 people and with a two-hour limit on services.
- Interprovincial travel is permitted, but discouraged.
- Gatherings will be permitted subject to limitations on size and health protocols, including religious, social, political, and cultural gatherings.
- The maximum number of people allowed for gatherings are 250 people for indoor venues and 500 people for outdoor venues.
- Where the venue is too small to accommodate the above without appropriate social distancing, a limit of 50% of the maximum capacity will be applicable.
- The sale of alcohol for off-site consumption will be prohibited from Friday to Monday.
- The sale of alcohol for on-site consumption will be allowed until 11:00pm.
- The wearing of masks remains compulsory.
Ramaphosa commended the representations by religious community leaders on precautionary measures they had put in place for the anticipated gatherings.
He did, however, urge congregants at religious events to go home after services and not sleep over.
The images below provide an overview of the special lockdown rules over the Easter period.